Friday, November 19, 2010

HOPE Volunteers Provide Cholera Care, Education and Build Facilities for Rehab Program

Project HOPE and ICDDR,B Team Begins Much Needed Cholera Education

As the death toll in Haiti’s cholera epidemic surpasses 1,000 with more than 16,000 having been hospitalized, Project HOPE welcomed the International Center for Diarrheal Disease and Research team from Bangladesh to Port Au Prince Haiti to help provide much needed cholera education (ICDDR,B). At the onset of the cholera outbreak Project HOPE sent a team from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to Haiti to assess the situation and begin helping with patient treatment. Led by Dr. Larry Ronan, a HOPE volunteer and MGH physician, this team was able to coordinate and secure the participation of the ICDDR,B team who are experts in the field of cholera education, assessment, research and treatment.

Project HOPE volunteers along with the ICDDR,B experts now form an eight member team consisting of two nursing officers, two clinical researchers, two physicians and two microbiologists. The team was split into two independently functioning four person teams to maximize the amount of assessment and training they could accomplish during their three week stay.

The team’s original plan was to head North to Cap Haitien on the North coast of Haiti where the more than 1,500 patients have been hospitalized and 119 have died giving them the highest death rate (7.5%) of any region in Haiti. Due to violent protests and riots in Cap Haitien these plans had to be modified.

One team stayed in Port Au Prince under the leadership of Project HOPE volunteers MG (Ret) Darrel Porr, M.D. and Carma Erickson-Hurt BSN, MSN to meet with government officials and public relations personnel. The other set out South to Jacmel on the Southern coast of Haiti to start training sessions with local medical staff and healthcare workers. While Jacmel thus far has been spared from the cholera outbreak local officials and medical staff recognized the need for training to prevent and potentially treat cholera should it arrive in their region.

On their first day of training in Jacmel, the team conducted three sessions training with a total of thirty-seven doctors, nurses and ancillary staff participating. Two of the sessions took place at Portal Leogane Clinic in Jacmel and one at Hospital Saint Michel. The team was well received and was able to dispel some of the common misconceptions about cholera that often prevent a cholera patient from getting proper treatment. Because this is Haiti’s first cholera outbreak in many years, there are many fears and anxieties about how cholera is spread and transmitted.

The training sessions will go a long way towards getting Haiti’s local medical staff appropriately informed to diagnose and treat cholera patients and alleviate the continued spread of this easily treated but deadly disease.

Photos and story submitted by HOPE volunteer, Carrie Alexander, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Johns Hopkins MPH student.

More on our work in Haiti.

Volunteers Continue Caring for Cholera Patients at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer

Six Project HOPE nurses arrived this week in Deschapelles, Haiti to continue work in the cholera ward at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. Haiti is experiencing a surge in cholera cases due to water contamination after the devastating earthquake last February.

The Project HOPE nurses got right to work after a brief orientation to the hospital and cholera protocols. For the next three weeks, they will be working 24/7, providing much needed help to overworked Haitian professionals. At least two nurses will be on the ward at all times to start and monitor IVs and make sure that these desperately Ill patients get the oral rehydration fluids they need in order to fight this disease. Cholera patients require massive amounts of fluids and electrolytes because of the losses from diarrhea and vomiting. When they arrive at the hospital, they are evaluated for disease severity and assigned to one of four treatment protocols. Protocol 4 patients require up to seven liters of fluid in the first three hours of treatment. Challenges encountered by the nurses include putting IVs in severely dehydrated patients, working at night without adequate lighting, language barriers (translators are not always available), and of course keeping themselves hydrated in the hot climate.

None of this seems to matter, as all are enthusiastic, hardworking, and just grateful for the opportunity to help the people of Haiti.

Story submitted by Project HOPE volunteer Cherri Dobson, a critical care nurse from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California. Cherri is serving on her fourth mission for Project HOPE.

More on our work in Haiti.

Modular Structures Being Built for Rehab Facility

The three modular structures (24 x 40 clinic, 28 x 20 dorm for housing up to 12 volunteers, 28 x 20 patient ward for individuals awaiting treatment) are currently being installed on the campus of Adventist Hospital in Diquini. The structures will be used to support HOPE’s rehabilitative health program in Haiti to help those still recovering from the 2010 earthquake.

HOPE’s work in connection with the installation of the modular units is being supported the Humanitarian Network, the Avon Foundation for Women, and other private donors.

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